EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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June 19, 2013

Lawrence club hit with probation after ejecting fire inspectors


Martin referred other questions to Mayra Lantigua.

Chief Bergeron said his recommendation to shut the club was the right one.

“The Tarshis were acting irresponsibly,” Bergeron said. “In my mind, as fire chief, (people) like that shouldn’t have a license to operate a club.”

John Tarshi did not return a phone call yesterday. The family’s lawyer, Kenneth Withem, could not be reached.

Besides putting El Centro on probation, the Licensing Board ordered it to remove dead bolts on exits, to allow the club to be reinspected and to treat inspectors respectfully.

“Fire Department investigators shall not be verbally assaulted at the premises or ordered off the premises,” one of the conditions the board attached to the probation states.

El Centro’s recent troubles began April 12, when Paul Tarshi confronted inspectors as they pointed out several alleged fire code violations, including overcrowding and at least five exits or entrances that were bolted shut.

“Mr. Tarshi immediately took an aggressive stance and started hollering and screaming,” inspector Frank Skusevich said in a report describing his effort to question Paul Tarshi about a forklift and propane tank on a sidewalk at the entrance during a concert at the club on April 12. “Instantly, he went into (a) rage and started talking about harassment and many other rants. He was several inches from my face hollering and pointing his finger at my forehead.”

Backed up by club security, Tarshi ejected the team of four inspectors, Skusevich’s report says.

Another team of inspectors got a similar treatment on May 26, after police called the Fire Department to report overcrowding at the club, a report by Fire Inspector Pat Ruiz says. John Tarshi blocked the inspectors at the door but eventually let them in, where they observed the overcrowding and other violations, Ruiz’s report says.

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